tv The Situation Room CNN December 29, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
accordingly. that's why they're not releasing all the information. >> there are experts who have been skeptical this is from north korea. pamela, thank you so much. be sure to follow me on twitter. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to brianna keilar who's in for wolf blitzer and she's in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news, search resuming. the massive hunt for a missing airasia flight set to get under way soon. will new clues be yielded in this latest airline mystery? cockpit plea new details about the crew's request to change altitude in an effort to avoid bad weather. how strong was this storm? new information about the pilot, his recent loss and his daughter's emotional outpouring. does any of it shed new light on what might have happened? and disaster at sea, the death toll climbing as fire
sweeps through a ferry with hundreds of people on board. why are authorities now launching a criminal investigation? wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room." we're following the breaking news. the indonesian government officially asking for u.s. help in the search for that missing airasia flight. the pentagon says it could include planes ships, perhaps underwater devices and the massive search is about to get under way for a third day as dawn is breaking over the java sea where officials fear the plane crashed with 162 people on board. we are covering all angles of the breaking news with our correspondents and expert guests including the former head of the national transportation safety board, debra hersman. we begin in surabaya indonesia with cnn's andrew stevens. andrew, give us the latest. >> reporter: brianna, as you
say, dawn is just breaking here in surabaya. and the search aircrafts will be back in the air in the moment now. they have about an hour to get to the search zone which has now been extended. but so far as we head into day three of the search it's been a very fruitless and frustrating effort in the search ongoing. a massive search operation is under way to locate the missing aircraft with 162 people aboard. officials say 30 ships and 15 planes and helicopters are now searching for airasia flight 8501. its last known position was over the java sea. large waves and clouds initially hampered search efforts which began on sunday. >> it is not easy of course in operation in the sea, especially in the bad weather like this. >> reporter: seven zones. >> reporter: patrolled monday but there was no sign of wreckage. four additional areas are now included in the search zone.
indonesia' president is asking for patience from the families of those aboard the plane. >> translator: we will do all it takes to find the missing airplane and we hope that families of victims will be patient and pray that this search will have a conclusion. >> reporter: 5:36 a.m. the airbus a-320 took off from the indonesian city of surabaya on sunday morning. it was bound for singapore, a flight that usually takes a little over two hours. 6:12 about 45 minutes into the flight indonesian officials said one of the pilots asked air traffic control permission to turn and climb to a higher altitude to try to avoid bad weather. air traffic control approved the pilot's request to turn left but denied permission for the plane to climb to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet. 6:18 six minutes later, the plane disappeared from radar. another six minutes later, 6:24 a.m. air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft. there was no distress call.
155 passengers most from indonesia, and seven crew members were on board. >> our concern right now is for the relatives and for the next of kin. there's nothing more important to us for our crew's family and for the passengers' family, that we look after them. that is our number one priority at the moment. >> reporter: two teenaged girls looking for their parents are among those gathered at the international airport here. families are getting briefed at a crisis center set up at the airport, closed-door meetings were held earlier with relatives and airline officials. so basically, brianna, as you see, the frustrations are mounting. this is a search that you can't help but draw comparisons with mh-370 the still-missing malaysian airlines plane. china's now joined this search. australia is also part of it. malaysia is. and the u.s. has been asked to start looking at contributing
some sort of sophisticated underwater search equipment. the seventh fleet is standing by ready to help. this really is ramping up. a lot of aviation analysts that i speak to say they expect some sort of news some sort of breakthrough in the next 24 to 48 hours. >> certainly will be hoping for that as well. thank you so much for that, andrew. let's bring in cnn aviation correspondent rene marsh who's taking a closer look at the plane that was involved. we look at all aspects when something like this happens. what's the safety record of this plane? >> when you look at the a-320 it has a pretty good record. consider this every two seconds someplace in the world, you have an a-320 either taking off or landing. so shows you how much this airplane is in the air. it is not only flown by international carriers but almost every u.s. carrier flies the a-320 when you talk about safety record this specific
family of aircraft has made some 85 million flights. but when you look at the accident rate there have been about 26. so compare that. 85 million flights, the ratio of actual flights to the accident rate, 26, that's a pretty good record. this specific aircraft that we're faukt here flight 8501 we know it was a newer plane, it was delivered about 2008 october 2008. it was just a little bit over six years old. >> and right now it is 5:00 p.m. where we are. it is 5:00 a.m. in surabaya. the search i assume will start again at sun-up? >> yes, it will. sun-up is when the aerial search will be back under way. we heard search-and-rescue officials say today that they believe that this aircraft is at the bottom of the java sea. and because of that they have officially requested -- indonesian officials have
officially requested the u.s. help in the search effort here. what that means is essentially they need that sonar equipment that enables them to search below the surface, if that he is where they believe this aircraft is. we also know two officials, two investigators from the french equivalent of the ntsb they have been dispatched to the region. we also know -- i spoke with airbus today, they've sent two experts there. their role will essentially be to help identify pieces of the plane if and when it is found. they'll also be able to answer for investigators how the plane's systems work. that will be critical. this is how we will move forward. but key is finding the wreckage. they need to find that and they need to find the black boxes in order to piece this together. we saw with mh-370 when you don't have the wreckage investigators are pretty much at a dead end. >> and there are some objects but we don't know if they are important. hopefully the investigators coming from france will be able to shed some light on that.
rene marsh thank you so much. we know the crew reported bad weather and requested a change of altitude just before the plane disappeared. cnn meteorologist chad myers is taking a closer look at how the weather might have factored into this. chad what was going on when this plane vanished? >> we were still before sunrise. we were still as the plane took off in pretty good shape. but unlike storms in america, that pop-up in the heat of the day, the storms along the equator, actually can get stronger in the morning. the air separates, the air and the jet stream separate. so these storms can go up a little bit stronger. i'll back you up to when the plane takes off. here it goes into some bumpy weather. i'm sure all the passengers still has seat belts on. then all of a sudden somewhere around 6:06 local time the plane is approaching this wall of weather. and now the pilots have to decide where do we go left right, up down or between these storms? and this is where it gets so tricky because at 6:16 -- 6:24 is exactly the place where that
plane was, in the most violent area of thunderstorm activity. it's up and down. it's bumpy. it's violent weather. 50,000-foot-tall thunderstorms here and many close together up and down next to each other. the pilot has to find the smoothest are place possible because the air goes over the wing to make the plane fly. this is how a plane flies. because the wing on top has a longer distance than the flap on the bottom that makes the plane go up. if you lose that flow you get the potential for stalling. and stalling means the plane no longer has lift. and that's what we can. even right now, that last frame right there, storms are popping up. now, this is still about an hour and a half from where the plane was lost. but storms are popping up right now. so they're popping up obviously right now in the search area and we don't need that. we need clear skies and not much wind. i don't see that in the forecast. >> all right, chad myers, thank
you so much. i want to get more now on the breaking news with the former chair of the national transportation safety board, debra hersman, now president and ceo of the national safety council. debra, thanks so much for being with us. let us know what the latest is that you're hearing, if there are any new leads. >> unfortunately, it's been a long night for everyone over there waiting to begin the search again. the good news is they're asking for help from folks who do have assets. i know that engaging the u.s. everyone is standing by to assist. there is no such thing as a domestic accident anymore. aviation is an international endeavor and we all are participating and we can all learn from what we find in this event. >> you've led so many ntsb investigations. walk us through what steps are likely being taken right now and just how important, how crucial is this time as we speak, these first couple of days, in the investigation? >> the first couple of days
really are about holding that evidence down collecting all the perishable information and making sure you've got things like records, meteorological data all of the information that everyone can capture, you want to do that. as far as the investigators, for many of them you heard about these traveling from the b.e.a. of france and from airbus, it's really about getting there. for some of these locations, you're having to travel halfway around the world. that takes time for those folks to get on the ground and begin their work. but the hardest part of all of this is for those families. it's important to take care of those loved ones as this search goes on. that's a very difficult position for them to be in and for the officials of the airline and of the company, they don't have a lot of information to share with them. so that gets very difficult, too. >> definitely. you can imagine that. one of the things i think so many people who watched the
search for malaysia air flight 370, one of the things that we came to realize was that the malaysian government really struggled when it came to leading the search for that plane. so i wonder when it comes to the indonesian government is this a reliable partner or a reliable leader in an investigation like this? >> you know i think the whole world probably learned a lot after 370. and for sure it's about asking people for information, maybe not people in your own country but others for information about air traffic, about tracking about radar, about information and asking for help and asking for equipment. some of those things are happening now. i'd like to think that everyone learned from 370 to begin to engage all of those assets and resources as soon as possible and not to waste time. i think what you're seeing now, particularly in engagement with
the families is very different than what we saw in 370 and also what you're seeing as far as international cooperation and asking for help. it's sometimes hard but it is really important in situations like this. >> multinational effort coming together very quickly now. we'll be talking about that after the break. we'll be right back with deborah hersman, the former chair of the ntsb ntsb. stay with us. . why's that? look what daddy's got... ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! growth you can count on from the bank where no branches equals great rates.
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we're following breaking news the search for that missing airasia flight set to resume soon with daybreak. that's really just in the next few minutes. indonesian officials say they are expanding the hunt to four new areas. the third day of a massive operation looking for any sign of the plane and its 162 passengers and crew. we are back now with the former chair of the national transportation safety board, deborah hersman. thanks again for being back with us. i think so many people look at this particular case and the fact that this plane went into a thunderstorm they wonder if a thunderstorm in itself would be enough to bring down a commercial plane. >> i think there's a lot of
people asking that question. unfortunately in aviation we often see these events that we don't anticipate. many of us didn't expect a flock of geese could take down an airliner by ingesting in both engines geese until we had the miracle on the hudson. but we just don't know what happened here. generally, these kind of aircraft are very robust. thunderstorms, lightning, things like that don't tend to be the things that give them problems. smaller aircraft, yes. they are affected. home-built aircraft experimental aircraft small, few seats on an aircraft, yes. we see in-flight break-ups with convective activity and thunderstorms. but not large transport category airplanes in the recent past. so i would say we expect them to generally hold up pretty well. but we're always going to be looking for things that we didn't understand or weaknesses or of performance issues that we
need to figure out. >> and typically you're looking at other things like human error or perhaps mechanical failure that coincided or resulted from bad weather, right? >> right. generally weather can be a factor in an investigation. it could be a factor as far as cause but it's generally not -- in transport category aircraft it's not going to be the sole factor. but we've learned a lot over the years. there were phenomena-like wind shear that we had to understand. we still have wind shear but it's about making sure that we have alerts that the pilots can understand what's happening and that we train the pilots so that they know how to get out of those events. >> the pilot in this case was flying at 32,000 feet requested to ascend air traffic control said no. we do have a screen grab at this point that we're still trying to
confirm that at least according to this screen grab of air traffic control that the pilot appears to have ascended anyway to about 36,000 feet. that request, though to ascend what does that tell you as an investigator? >> the good news is we have information in this one that there was active communication with air traffic control. they're identifying that there's something that they're concerned about. they feel like either it's a safety risk or a comfort concern for their passengers and they are asking for clearance to deviate from their flight path. and so that's saying that there's something going on. you want to take that in context. look at all of the radar data at the information, understand what the other aircraft in that area are doing. it is not unusual for a pilot to ask for clearance to get around weather. we all know that there are times when we fly. pilots will be working to get around weather or around turbulence that we can have a smoother flight and it really is
up to air traffic control to keep the aircraft separated while they're in-flight. thoes their job. that's why the pilots have to ask them for clearance. >> just this year deborah, we've seen three malaysian flights, this is airasia, but it's headquartered in malaysia. they've gone missing or they have crashed. the flight over ukraine traveling over a war zone mh-370 still missing. is this all just a coincidence or is there something to this? >> i think it's a very unfortunate series of events affecting carriers from a certain part of the world. we still don't know what happened to 370. and certainly the shooting down of the aircraft over the ukraine, that was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, certainly for that airline. and this one, i think we don't know has happened yet. but it does point to the incredible growth that we're seeing in this part of the world with respect to traffic, with
respect to the number of aircraft that are flying and the demand that is being placed in this part of the world for resources, whether it's crewing the aircraft with pilots or having mechanics, there is a lot going on. as we've seen in this one, we have a pilot from another country who is in the co-pilot seat here. so there is definitely a demand. there's a rise in traffic and a huge growth. they're in the top five in the world as far as capacity and growth. >> do you see perhaps because of that growth and capacity that perhaps malaysia is taking risks that they should not be taking that airlines there are taking risks? >> i will say that this particular airline, airasia, had a good safety record, compared to other air carriers in the region. the air carriers that are blacklisted by the eu by the european union, they're
bilateral relationships between the u.s. and other countries. so whether there's a concern over the carrier or concern over the country's oversight capabilities those issues do tend to get dealt with. but i will say that fast growth is a cause for concern. you've got to pay attention. you're bringing a lot of new capacity into the environment. you're bringing a lot of new -- potentially new pilots into a fleet. you might be bringing or introducing new aircraft types into a fleet. so just as we pay attention to a carrier when there's contraction or they file for bankruptcy it's just as important to pay attention to carriers during times of great expansion because that also places strain on operations. >> this is -- when you talked about introducing new aircraft this is an airbus 320, this is a workhorse. this aircraft is used so much around the world. do you have any worries about this particular aircraft? >> this is a workhorse of the
aviation fleet. you were talking earlier about the numbers of take-offs and landings all around the world using this aircraft type. what we see from not just this aircraft type but all of our transport category aircraft is that they are incredibly safe. they have a tremendous safety record. it gets better every year when you talk about reliability and performance of the aircraft. but we have to understand when we have events like this we have to understand what happened why it happened and how we can prevent something like this from occurring in the future. and i think until we find that wreckage we still have a lot of unanswered questions. >> seems like we are in this age of being in constant contact with other human beings certainly, at any given minute every few minutes, a lot of us are touching base with someone and yet when it comes to airplanes, there seem to be these gaps. why aren't there better realtime tracking devices on commercial
planes? >> i would say that a lot of technology has grown exponentially in the last two decades. and i think certainly when we look at the number of cell phone towers that have gone up the penetration of portable electronic devices that all of us have we've seen real growth and real change. but when it comes to aviation a lot of their tracking systems have been ground-based tracking systems, radar, over the years. and many of these areas where you don't have that ground-based system that operate over water, they're dark. and it's been like that for some time. we really have the opportunity now to move to satellite-based tracking and to be able to share data and share information in a more coherent way when it comes to aviation. i think that is the opportunity ahead of us and there's nothing that underscores that like 370 and this event to really bring it home. >> deborah, thanks so much for being with us.
deborah hersman, the former chair of the national transportation safety board. we really appreciate your time today. >> thank you. coming up a closer look at how pilots regain control of a plane that's stalled and is falling out of the sky. also one of the biggest unanswered questions, why was there no distress call from the airasia jet's cockpit? you're in "the situation room." it's just ordinary fleece but the comfort it provides is immeasurable. the america red cross brings hope and help to people in need every 8 minutes every day. so this season give something that means something. when it comes to medicare, everyone talks about what happens when you turn sixty-five. but, really, it's what you do before that counts. see, medicare doesn't cover everything. only about eighty percent of part b medical costs. the rest is on you.
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we continue our breaking news coverage of the search for the missing airasia airliner. it's dawn in the java sea. search planes should be in the air anytime now looking for wreckage. also the pentagon says indonesia has asked the u.s. for help with the search. that help could include air, surface, subsurface detection capabilities. with us now in "the situation room," we have peter golz a former managing director of the nats transportation safety board, cnn law enforcement analyst, tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi, david susi a safety inspector for the faa and oceanographer
david fallow. we have a leaked screen grab that purportedly showed the flight path of airasia 8501. shows the plane ascending and losing speed. what does that tell us? >> it tells us that the aircraft was obviously ascending, but in that flight position going up into that altitude like that i have two questions -- one is it had not been authorized from the information that we have to make that climb yet. when the air traffic controller went back after clearing the airspace at 38,000 feet, went back to communicate with the aircraft it wasn't able to reach the aircraft. in that realm, i'd have some questions as to why the aircraft went ahead and ascended which would indicate there was an emergency of some kind he had to respond to. if the reported air speed is correct, if i have questions about if you look at the screen grab there are some questions as to what the air speed really was. so if the air speed was as low as being reported then the
aircraft would have been in a stall position. but if you look at that screen grab down in the bottom right-hand corner it says 535, which is the indicated air speed, clld be awhich would be a normal speed, not a stall speed. >> so that isn't too slow that isn't -- i read somewhere it was 100 knots too slow to maintain flight in an ascent no? >> right. that's what was reported. but converting the knots there's there -- but ground speed and air speed are two different things in terms of winds aloft. indicated air speed is what keeps that aircraft in the air, not ground speed. it has to do with the relative wind speed to the speed of the aircraft. so at that point, i'm still not convinced that that shows us that that air speed was that low. >> so we still need to
double-check some data. >> i think so. >> certainly that's why rescuers are looking to see if they can find that data. so key. tom, this is an airline and an airplane with a pretty good safety record, right? >> right. >> so this is sort of -- it's a budget airline. but up until this point, its record was clean, as youens it ens understand it? >> yes, no indication that they weren't meeting their safety requirements. no indication of any kind of foul play with the aircraft or something wrong with the pilot or co-pilot. we don't have any of that. so far, i think the weather dominates the story until proven otherwise, that this is the one thing that affected this aircraft that was different than the other, that it was in extreme terrible weather compared to mh-370 which was a clear, calm night when that went missing. >> to that point, peter, we've been fielding a lot of questions, very good questions,
i should say from viewers. what we keep hearing over and over is one about whether the u.s. would essentially allow planes to go through, go around even really take off knowing that this weather is out there. what do you think? >> well i think that there were a number of planes in front of this aircraft and there were a number of planes behind this aircraft. and i think the take-off was legitimate. the idea that they should have grounded this flight nobody else grounded flights that night that i'm aware of. and we should interview the pilots preceding it and following up and see how tough the weather was. but storms, they're living creatures almost. and this guy could have run into a very tough cell. >> certainly. i want to bring in our cnn weather anchor, chad myers, to talk about that.
chad what does weather like this do to a plane? >> it will shake it and i've been in plenty of airplanes that have fallen 500 feet or gone up 500 in violent up or downdrafts. but i want to put the viewers out there at ease because weather like this happens every day. this is the intertropical convergence zone. this is where hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones are made. this is the air coming together and rising rapidly and thunderstorms develop. and we have a plane going through this type of weather probably every day and we don't have planes missing every day. so yes, this was a tough situation. but it's more than weather with this. there's something else going on here weather created the stress, it created the drama. but it likely didn't bring the plane down. we don't even have any significant indications that the weather was that bad. but something else was going on here. we have weather like this every day. i want to take you now to what happened as it took off. it took off. there was no weather through
here. when you say, should we have canceled the flight? no the thunderstorms hadn't even developed yet. now 30 minutes before the plane disappears now these storms are getting very big, getting violent and now this pilot has to fly through a fence of weather that's going up rather rapidly. so when he talked about weather being a liveing breathing thing, it definitely is. the storms were 50,000 feet tall. with violent weather like that you can affect the laminar flow over a wing. the wind takes a plane and lifts it into the air. it's the lift that if you lose that it's called the stall in an airplane. and that stall is what possibly happened especially if that air speed was correct. let me take you back here this is a satellite picture live all the way up to right now. we're going to back you up again. all of a sudden you'll see these storms here, they weren't there an hour ago. they have just popped up.
it happens every morning here in this zone and this is what the pilots dealt with the day before that and the day before that. it's the same story every day here as storms pop up quickly. >> quickly developing. thanks chad. i want to ask david gallo a question. you were involved in that -- recovering the air france flight going from rio to paris. you know so much about this, this recovery process. when you're talking about searching for wreckage what impact does that kind of weather that chad was just showing us have? >> well while you're doing the air search it has a fairly large impact because it makes it difficult for planes to stay in the air, it affects visibility. on the surface of the sea, if the winds are whipping up waves, it can make it difficult for ships to be out there and do their work. so it's all -- the idea in any kind of search like this is to
run a very tight grid to you don't miss any spots. rough weather hampers that. >> generally speaking though when you talk about the java sea, this is more shallow than the southern indian ocean, for sure where the search for malaysian air flight 370 is ongoing. you would expect this -- we heard from andrew stevens, that investigators and rescuers searchers, are hoping they get some sort of break in the next couple of days. >> i think, yeah that's a bit -- there's not going to be anything easy about this or nothing routine. certainly shallow water has its advantages. but also some disadvantages. the currents can be higher at depth and the visibility may be low because of sediments that come off the land masses. so it will have its own set of issues. but you're right. we're hoping anytime now. even though the search area now is larger than the malaysian air initial search area. so we're still talking about covering an awful lot of ground
and we're day two into this now, doing into day three. >> you think 48 hours more hoping for a break might be ambitious? >> well like with malaysian air 370, day one when we thought it was in the gulf of thailand i thought that would be over in one day. and here we are still almost ten months later looking for that. so i'm hoping and praying that especially for the sake of the families and loved ones of the people on board that plane that there's some break today and someone sees something that gives us tangible evidence that there's an aircraft somewhere in that area. >> peter, we're hearing it sounds like the general consensus is the weather was bad but that's not enough. perhaps it was human error, perhaps it was some sort of mechanical failure. perhaps it was a combination of all of these three things. going into bad weather like this obviously pilots want to fly around it but they're trained to deal with something like this, aren't they? >> pilots train for it all the time. and they occasionally fly
through it. and it's part of the unusual situation training that they go through and particularly with the chief pilot who had 20,000 hours, both as an air force pilot and as a commercial pilot, he would have been absolutely capable of flying into this kind of weather, making the kind of command decisions that are necessary to keep the plane safe. >> i wonder if you think, tom, there's perhaps anything suspicious? when malaysian air flight 370 went down, everyone was looked at. what might there be a motivation to do something like this on purpose? is there anything suspicious here? >> no looking at the passengers and the crew and all the people involved with an aircraft is going to be a matter of routine investigation even in this case. but, again, you don't have -- it's less mysterious in a way even though we don't have the plane and haven't been able to corroborate that that's what happened. but it's just so coincidental
that it's flying into horrible weather and then this happens and it was asking to change its altitude. and i think that that's what's making this one different or less mysterious as far as did a pilot do it did a terrorist hijack the plane? >> david, the plane is obviously built to handle this turbulence. is there a certain point, though where a storm is too much for a plane to handle? >> well obviously there is a point where it would break. but when i did destructive testing down at the cessna wallace division, my job was to try to break wings. and we did that. and it takes an enormous amount of pressure to do that. much more pressure than what the physical weight of the aircraft would be coming down on it. so you're talking about having to go up and down about 1,000 feet up and 1,000 feet down to create the kind of inertia. it's highly unlikely in this
type of aircraft. that's not the first thing i would suspect on this accident. >> david, when will an underwater search begin? at what point does that happen? >> well maybe if they've got a decent last known position you start right away trying to hear the pingers on the black boxes. maybe they've put buoys in the water to look for drift around that area. so we can backtrack any kind of debris we might find in the days to come. but if there's equipment available and the fact that they're asking the united states halfway around the world kind of says to me there's not a lot of equipment available. but if it is you might pick an area around that last known position and start mowing the lawn back and forth. it could be any day now that they decide to do it. >> peter goelz, thank you. david soucie david gallo and tom fuentes, thank you. next why don't airliners carry black boxes and track them
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the mystery of what happened to the airasia jet is renewing calls for better tracking devices aboard airliners. cnn business correspondent alison kosik looked into the available technology. >> reporter: right now when an airplane disappears the story of what went wrong vanishes with the black box. but what if we had those answers all along? >> we would know where the aircraft has gone where it is and we would have information on what happened in the meantime. >> reporter: canadian company flight makes live streaming data recorders that send information in real time. it's part of a satellite-based system that monitors a plane's exact location engine conditions and more. >> the system transmits every
five to ten minutes on a normal flight. >> reporter: if something goes wrong like the plane deviating from its route, the system will start streaming live second-by-second data. >> that kind of information is not only life-saving but it adds a tremendous measure of security for our country. >> reporter: there are several mechanism that is transmit a plane's data. but unlike those systems, the technology behind flight is more extensive, sharing a tremendous amount of information. so much information critics say it could be difficult to monitor and analyze if widely adopted. right now, flight's technology is only fitted to a few hundred planes. it can be installed for about $100,000. normal data transmission costs between a few dollars to $15 per flight hour and goes up for continuous streaming in a rare emergency, a cost carriers might not be willing to pay. >> they're cost sensitive and will not additional safety measures unless mandated by the federal government.
>> reporter: but with more questions about another missing commercial jet, the high-tech black box may get a second look. >> the technology exists it's in service, it's economical. and the question now is how to get more widespread use of it. >> reporter: besides cost the other reason commercial jets don't have that kind of satellite technology they're waiting on a task force to decide on which technology to adopt for entire fleets and when they do decide planes that fly international will get that technology first. but that's not expected to happen for another five to ten years. >> that is a long time. alison kosik thank you so much. with us now in "the situation room," aviation writer clive irving. thank you for being with us. i want to talk to you about this article you've written for "the daily beast" about flight recording technology. you say the technology exists and we heard it's going to take five to ten years and even then talking just international flights so you can track
>> this is the second time in ten months that we've seen the enormous expense and frustration of these sea searches. you remember that the only thing we had with mh-370 was through a company called inmarsat a company that owns this fleet of satellites. they had continuous contact with that plane. i went to london and talked to the people there. in fact, their equipment has 80% of the world's wide body fleet. the plane involved here with a narrow body. but they have this technology and they are ready to put it into action. the important point about it it doesn't only tell you where the plane has gone down and that in itself is essential, but if there's any deviation from the plan's approved travel route,
not only does it record all the vital information that the flight recorder normally gathers, it can intercept that information, and track it and start transmitting. these signal also go to the satellite, override all other traffic. they'll get a priority that's the protocol. so between the time that something happens to a plane, as in this case for example, and when it hits the water, if that's what it ends up doing, it will already have a lot of data and tell you what went wrong in that plane. you will also have where it went down in the ocean. the idea that this will take another five or ten years to be installed is preposterous. they have to have a damn good reason while they fail to adopt a readily available technology and why it will take so long to do it. i would like to see one airline which has a responsibility of
flying over oceans to step up to the plate and say, we're not going to wait for this to happen we will do it. i would hope to see that kind of pressure plus some political pressure from congress is also necessary to make this thing -- we should never be living through the kind of thing we've lived through this year with this tragic sequence of two crashes into the ocean, all these lost lives and all these expenses, all this equipment required to go looking for them. it's crazy. >> what's the hangup clive? what is it bureaucracy, cost? >> i think there's a consen sis among the aviation organizations, it's what churchill described a committee, as a camel, as a horse designed by committee would be a camel. this is a very large
organization and it will never act without a political jolt to it. i think the public is entitled to be very angered about this situation. >> five to ten years, everyone can agree is too long. clive, really appreciate your time. >> the jet's disappearance raises new questions about the malaysian airliner that disappeared earlier this year. later tonight, we report on the mystery of the disappearance of the flight. we're also following the harrowing ordeal off the coast of italy and greece where hundreds of passengers spent hours trapped aboard a burning ferry. 427 people made it off alive. amazing, and yet ten passengers died. let's go now to our correspondent. give us the latest here. these pictures are -- i can't even imagine how scared the people were on board this ferry.
>> reporter: and even safely off of it. the surveyiveors we've been speaking to have been stumbling over the words. one woman told me they had to get to the highest point on this extraordinarily unstable vessel. it was right on the roof there were no railings. it was pitch black. they had to wait there in the hope that one of those helicopter pilots that was battling through the smoke would make it through and pick a handful of them up. those helicopters could only take three or four at a time. even now we're on the seacoast here the weather is still really bad. and the ship with the survivors on it the remaining survivors, it still hasn't docked at port. and concern is growing, because you have a number of different nationalities on this ship. already, there's a lot of conversation about the different numbers of missing we're hearing. the italian coast guard has ten
dead. the greek authorities believe there could be even more brianna. >> terrible. thank you so much. we'll be checking in with you to update the story. up next, the latest on the search for the missing airasia jet with 162 people on board. how soon will the u.s. be joining this effort? plus new information about the pilot and the personal loss that he suffered just days before the plane vanished. (vo) nourished. rescued.
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analyzing all the evidence. and grieving pilot. new information about the plane's captain, including his flight record and a very personal loss only days ago. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. we have breaking news this hour. the search for a missing airasia passenger plane is due to get back under way and expand to cover four additional areas. it's about 6:00 a.m. tuesday in indonesia just after daybreak. it's been two full days since air controllers lost contact with the airbus jet with 162 people on board. local authorities now are formally asking the u.s. for help. the pentagon says it's ready to assist possibly with equipment to search from the air and on or below the water surface. the aircraft was last detected over the java sea about halfway
through its flight from indonesia to singapore. and there's been no trace of the plane since then. investigators say bad weather was probably a factor in the plane's disappearance. they suspect it's now at the bottom of the sea. but nothing is certain until some debris and the black boxes are found. our correspondents are standing by they're exploring all the newest information about the plane, the pilots and what went wrong. first, to cnn's andrew stevens with the airport in surbuya. andrew, give us the latest. >> reporter: it is full light here. the planes have taken off, the ships are resuming their search and there's real hopes in the next 24 to 48 hours we'll get some way to unlocking this mystery. most experts say this is the expectation. within the next two days we legal have some clues as to the
wreckage of the flight. at this stage, though, it has been fruitless so far. there are now 30 ships in the area 15 fixed wing and helicopter aircraft also in the area. it's being joined by other countries. the australians joined yesterday. malaysia is sending vessels, as well. china has become the latest country, sending land and aircraft as well. surface sea and aircraft to the area. and the u.s. is also being asked to -- if it can provide some sort of sophisticated underwater detection equipment, sonar equipment to help in the search. so it is ramping up all the time. but at the moment it is a desperate weight for the families here. the airport is the crisis center for this -- for what's been happening here. the families are gathering, 150 of the 155 passengers on that
flight were indonesians. families are frustrated because they're just not getting information. they say they're getting more information from the television than official channels. but the officials are saying we need more time we need new leads so we can pass that on. very frustrating for everyone concerned at the moment. brianna? >> thank you for that update. now we want to get a detailed account about what we know from the plane from the moment it took off. let's bring in aviation correspondent renee marsh. walk us through this renee. >> reporter: we're talking about just 36 minutes after takeoff, the pilot was concerned, and there were problems. that's when the problems began. but why this plan never arrived at its destination remains a mystery tonight. french crash investigators have been dispatched and experts from airbus are there to i.d. pieces of the plane if and when it's found. rescuers believe airasia flight
8501 is in the bottom of the sea. but where in >> we realize the worst thing that maybe happened. >> reporter: on the full first day of the operation, 15 planes and 30 ships scanned these two areas in the java sea for wreckage. still no sign of the jet liner. >> they have a very good idea where it was. it's in a confined area and also in an area where the water is relatively shallow. 150 feet versus 10,000 or 20,000 feet. so all of those factors to me make it likely the airplane will be found. >> sunday morning, 5:36 local time the airbus takes off from the indonesian city of surbaya, bound for singapore. 36 minutes later, trying to avoid a thunderstorm the pilot asks for permission to turn and climb to a higher altitude. the request denied.
>> this airplane was not allowed to climb to 38,000 feet after the request because there were so many other airplanes in the area. other airplanes are flying through it. what made this airplane crash, was the weather so bad at that spot spot? >> reporter: or was it how the pilot reacted? about 42 minutes into the flight the plane vanishes from radar, all contact lost without even a may day call. an hour and a half after contact is lost the plane is declared missing. >> by the time you get people notified a whole host of people notified that you have communication issues with an airplane and it dropped off radar, i think that timeline is probably fair. >> reporter: the focus also on demand flying. the captain had more than 20,000 hours of experience. a social media post reads, in part dad, please come home. i still need you.
the captain's father told the bbc he last saw him at a recent funeral of another son. based on the flight path and the last known coordinates, search teams believe the flight is in the bottom of the sea. for that reason indonesian officials have asked the united states france and the uk for sonar equipment, which, of course would be used for an underwater search. but we're moving into that third day of searching and many people say this is the prime reason why aircraft should be tracked in real time brianna. >> everyone saying that. yet the technology exists and it's not in planes yet. renee marsh, thank you so much. i want to look at the violent weather around the time that the flight vanished. we'll be joined by cnn meteorologist chad myers, this chad was a very serious thunderstorm. >> sure sure it was. it was in the intertropical convergence zone an area around the globe, around the equator,
almost on top of the equator at times that storms pop up. but they pop up every day, that's the thing. 48 1/2 hours the plane takes off, gets through some of this weather, bumpy, and then all of a sudden look at this weather that pops up about 47 1/2 hours ago, right there is where the plane got into this very heavy thunderstorm activity. that's where we lost it. 50,000 foot tops. can't fly over that. the plane is just not going to go that high. so even though they requested to go higher there's just no way. they're going to have to go around it so they saw something on the radar, that's why they likely requested that. but when the air collides at the equator, it can't go down the earth is in the way, it has to go up. when the air goes up strong updrafts, downdrafts are also created and that is what this story is all about. up and down big left right,
whatever type of eddys this plane was in. and this is exactly what has just happened in the past couple of hours. a similar line although not here here a similar long line of storms difficult to navigate around or through, has just popped up. these storms like this happen every single morguening in the tropics. >> we're looking at the combination of the weather and how pilots may have responded to this. chad myers, thank you so much. i want to bring in now our team of experts here in "the situation room." we have cnn law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. former ntsb managing director peter goals. david suzi, and david gal low, who helped discover the wreckage of air france flight 447 in the atlantic ocean. david suzi to you first. how important is a pilot's reaction when it comes to rough weather? >> well, it's not the reaction
as in i feel something and i'm responding to it. it's the reaction to the perception of what's going on in front of them. so that's where the first initial reaction comes in. that can be changed. a lot based on how much they rely on their equipment. so if you overrely on what you see on the screen it may not give you the best picture of what's in front of you. so it's the perception of what is ahead of them that is so critical for the pilots. they have a lot of choices that they can make. turn around continue through, climb or descend or try to go around it. but that's the -- when most errors are made that cause accidents is when that perception is reacted to improperly. >> if you're a frequent flyer, peter, chances are you've been through rough weather. fly i fly a lot. i've only been through one downdraft where it felt we were falling out of the sky. where can things go wrong?
>> these planes are extraordinarily robust. they can take almost anything the weather can toss at it. david mentioned about testing wing loads at cessna. these things are tough. where you get into issues is how pilots respond. what is the plane telling them and are they correctly interpreting? we won't know that until we get the black box. this weather in and of itself was enough to cause this tragedy. >> i mean is it realistic, is it fair to liken it to if you skid on ice as a driver and what you're taught to do is kind of turn into the skid don't hit the brakes, and yet everyone wants to turn and hit the brakes. it's not really what you want to do naturally. but this is something that pilots are prepared for. >> pilots train for this every time they get in the simulator. there's always one kind of challenging event, often times weather related.
and they fly through weather like this on occasion. this should not have been a challenge as we've reported. this kind of weather is common on that route throughout the winter months. so no i don't think -- i think these pilots were prepared. technically there was something else going on. >> something else going on. we're looking for the combination factors in all this. obviously the black box will help with that. there's the search continuing for that. i wonder david gal low, having helped in recovery of air france flight 447, where the expectation was that -- was that the plane had ascended the speed was too slow the plane stalled and really fell in one piece to the ocean. do you see any possible similarities here? >> well we got that information from the black boxes after the
black boxes were recovered. although we did have some indication from the wreckage that the plane belly smacked on the surface of the ocean. both aircraft were heading into turbulence. both are airbuses and both rely quite a bit on computers to fly the plane. one of the things that i wonder about is that handoff. there was an issue in the air france 447 case. the handoff between the computer and the pilots. so when the computer said i can't figure this out, you fly the plane. in that case they were unable to fly it. not only that but they were totally preoccupied in the cockpit to the point there was no may day issued in that case either. so we're going to have to wait until we get the black boxes. but there are some parallels, so it seems. >> tom this is one of the things that we heard from the former chair of the ntsb. she said when it comes to aviation this is not just -- this happens in indonesia. it's a malaysian head quartered
plane. that doesn't matter. this is an international issue. you've been talking to people about this investigation. what is the latest that you're hearing? >> right now there's no suspicion of anybody, the cockpit crew or the passengers or the ground crew. at this time although they do the investigation and they look at that and try to look at everybody that was on that plane and look at the baggage that was loaded. but so far there's no suspicion of that. as david mentioned, they're hoping to find the wreckage find the black boxes and get the key determination to what brought it down. >> that's the only way we are going to know. david, there's this screen grab. it reportedly -- well it was leaked by an indonesian air traffic controller that appears to show that this flight was rising in altitude but it was losing speed. this is a very bad combination. cnn can't validate the authenticity of this image, but when you're looking at that e explain what could have happened. >> at this point, in the screen
grab if it is indeed correct, what they're saying that it says is that the aircraft was climbing because there's a little arrow down there that shows the aircraft was climbing and it was at 36,300 feet in a climbing attitude. so at that point, you're saying the aircraft did, in fact go up to the higher altitude which it was not approved to do. it was waiting for approval because air traffic controllers, as peter had said had not approved that to happen. so at this point the aircraft has run out of enough forward initiative forward movement that the air over the top of the wing was not sustainable. it wasn't high enough there wasn't enough volume over the top of the wing to create lift. once that lift is lost the aircraft goes into a flat stall. at that point, it's difficult to recover from the aircraft. a lot of training it takes and experience to be able to recover an aircraft from that type of a situation. >> so training some of these obviously pilots have been trained in this.
it's difficult circumstances, no doubt. but what do they do to recover from that? >> there's a couple things you do. airbus if you remember there was an aircraft accident not long ago, about ten years ago, in which the aircraft had been used as a training mechanism to get out of these types of stals. what they do is they go full left rudder full right rudder and they start a swinging motion in the aircraft. as that motion gives a direction to the airplane it gets enough movement where it can drop the nose pull over and get enough air over the top of the wings to where at that point you can maintain control. it kind of slips back into the controlled environment of a lift end of the wing and a vacuum on top of the wing. so it's a very difficult maneuver to do that. i've been sitting in simulators as pilots do this training. it's very intense and not something that you take lightly. >> i'm sort of feeling it in just a way that you describe it. we're going to continue this
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we're back where breaking news. u.s. help is on the way for the search for the missing airasia plane. a senior u.s. military official says the guided missile destroyer, the u.s. sampson will join the efforts. our experts are standing by for a lot of questions. but first, we have information about the captain of the jet. an experienced pilot who had a death in his family just days ago. joe johns has that for us. >> reporter: he's a former military pilot, said to have flown f-16 fighter jets. he's also a father of school-aged children and a husband. though his wife so far has declined to make any public statements. as is common in indonesia, he's known by only one name. pictures on facebook more than confirm at least one of his known hobbies. he's a fan of motorcycles. reports suggest he's even a member of a motorcycle club. his daughter posted a picture of
him on social media saying dad, please come home. i still need you. the family recently suffered a loss. the captain's younger brother died of diabetes just days ago. the captain's father told the bbc, i want my son to come back alive. the captain was a veteran of the skies, with more than 20,000 flying hours. of which 6100 hours were with airasia on the airbus 320. slightly more flying time than pilot chesley sullenberger who executed a water landing in new york with 155 passengers and crew on board. all survived. the captain of the airasia plane had about the same skillset based on his experience. >> captain sullenberger would say he would have been just as competent to perform the miracle on the hudson. >> reporter: what we don't know is what happened in the cockpit before the plane went off radar.
the clues include the presence of bad weather in the area and the request to increase altitude which was denied because of additional air traffic close by. what the traffic may have done with that information is an open question. for example, whether the pilot may have disregarded the controller's guidance. >> what disturbs me is did he begin a climb without clearance. that might be indicative of an emergency problem developing. >> reporter: there was also no known communication before it went off radar. not necessarily a radio malfunction. >> we're trained very early on to aviate navigate and communicate being the last thing. communicating in this situation the last people that would be able to help you is air traffic control. >> reporter: the first officer on the plane is from france
according to the french foreign ministry which notified his family about the missing plane. he had 2300 hours flying with airasia. >> significantly less than the captain. joe johns, thank you so much. i want to go back to our panel now. david, you heard joe johns' report there. no distress call communicating is very important. does it surprise you there wasn't one? what is the protocol within the cockpit? >> it does surprise me because of the fact that why would they have started that ascent without any approval at this point? there had to be some other emergency, but in that case the airman's information manual tells pilots that you have to communicate that because if you don't, you're at risk of going into the space of another aircraft and having a mid-air
collision or causing a diversion at that point. so at this point, even if it was an emergency, someone needs to communicate with the air traffic controllers and say we're going off of our intended flight. that didn't happen and it's very concerning. >> we're looking at different factors, peter, weather being one. you have the possibility of technical difficulties human error. judging by other issues what is the likelihood it's human error? >> accidents in general are a chain of events. you break the chain and the accident doesn't occur. the lawman fak man >> how much information is inside of the black box? >> that's going to be critical in this case especially. the one advantage we have here compared to mh-370 is that the voice recordings loop over themselves ever 30 minutes in most of the cases.
so in this case the fact that the plane went down so quickly or whatever happened to it happened so quickly that we should have all the voice communication that the pilot and co-pilot had with each other, as well as radioed back to the air traffic controllers that they may not have received. so you'll hear everything that was going on in terms of what they were trying to deal with. then the data recorder which records over the whole flight, will be saying everything the airplane was doing, speed, altitude all of the information of the flight itself. but the cockpit voice recording is going to be very very important in this case. >> yeah. and the search for that continues. david gallow if you can talk about the timing here. there were mistakes made when we were talking about the march flight of mh-370. it really hurt the overall search. how key was the piece of debris that was found early on in the air france flight that went down flight 447 over the atlantic how key was it to
finding that? >> it was crucial. there was immediate response by the brazilian navy the french navy, and i believe a few other countries, to the last known position. but it was five days had past before the first piece of debris was found. now, grant it that was in the middle of the atlantic ocean, so it was 1,000 miles plus away from the nearest port. but it was five long days and they kept finding debris for the next couple of weeks. but knowing that there was something that tangible evidence that the plane went down in that area was important because it allowed us to backtrack over the weeks that had past to try to find out where the plane impacted the atlantic ocean. >> thank you so much to everyone on our panel. peter, tom, david gallow and david suzi, thoonkanks for being with us. just ahead, we're going live
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as the hunt for a missing airasia jet gets back under way, china is sending aircraft and ships to join the search operation. cnn's will ripley joins us live from beijing. will, what's the latest there? >> reporter: well brianna, even though there weren't any chinese passengers on this flight china has much more invested in this. in surabaya the majority of people are ethnically indonesian chinese. so china has an interest in getting their assets to this area joining the nine countries that are going to be part of this search. china, it's very important after investing a considerable amount of resources to search for the missing flight 370, a search that's turned up nothing so far, it's important for china to get involved in this and have a different outcome than the one earlier this year. as you know brianna, 154
chinese passengers are still missing, and there are many many families here in china going through the same anguish ten months on that the families of the airasia flight are going through. >> definitely lessons to be learned from that past flight that went missing. will ripley thank you so much. i want to get a look now at the scope of the airasia jet and also the challenges. cnn's tom foreman is mapping all of this out. >> reporter: it's easy to think when you talk about something like this, when you know that the plane took off and flew for less than an hour this way, that it would be easy to have a tiny search area. but look at the size of the search zones out here. it's about the size of south carolina and indiana combined. search searching all that is a big challenge. right now, they're spreading out, and look all the different nations involved trying to get assets to look for this wreckage out there, looking for seat
cushions or anything else floating on top of the water, a big fuel slick, anything like that. all these nations are involved and brought along a significant amount of assets. we have about 30 different ships involved 15 airplanes. still, this is a tremendous area to cover and it's complicated by this simple fact. look at the weather out here. this was the weather when the plane went down and they've had bits and pieces of the same kind of weather happening out there now. so all of those planes all of those ships trying to search out there, they're encountering the same sort of circumstances that possibly brought this plane down. and that does complicate things brianna. >> how much is this task complicated by the fact that we don't know what happened how the plane went down? >> that's a huge factor. let's say that one theory is correct here that the plane simply stalled, it got into such turbulence that it got a false reading on its speed. let's say it was traveling 100
miles per hour which would be incredibly flow for this plane, and the plane essentially went straight down. for a plane like this to fall from 32,000 feet that's fairly a large foot print where it might wind up. but say the plane, in fact got into severe trouble, had some severe cataclysmic failure but still was somehow airworthy for a period of time. then that plane can be going off at an angle. it could fall straight down in about 45 seconds. but it could go minutes off into some other direction, some unknown direction and with every second it remains in the air, that search area just gets bigger and bigger and bigger making it so much harder to know where the plane is because we don't know how it disappeared. >> tom foreman, thank you so much. just ahead, a series of deadly air disasters and now the disappearance of the airasia
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we're monitoring the search for the missing airasia jet that's getting back under way after 48 hours with no sign of the plane. the airline based in malaysia where a nation is reeling from air disasters, including, of course the flight 370 mystery. our global affairs correspondent elise labbot has more on this. >> reporter: air carriers from malaysia were involved in three air mishaps this year. for the third time this year an agonizing wait as loved ones brace for news for the fate of 162 people aboard an airasian flight.
for malaysian carriers the disasters in 2014 have been unthinkable. if all aboard the flight have perished malaysian based carriers will have suffered 699 deaths more than half of aviation deaths this year. >> airasia has an unblemished record until this tragedy. they were considered a pioneer in bringing low cost high quality air service to the indonesian malaysian area. there was no question about their safety. >> reporter: it started march 8 with the disappearance of flight 370. the boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people aboard. authorities believe the plane crashed into the indian ocean, and questioned links to terrorism. ten months later, not a trace of the plane, and no answers as to the cause of the crash. july 17th just four months
after flight 370 vanished disaster would describe again for malaysian airlines. russian backed rebels blamed for shooting down flight 17 with a russian-made surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 aboard. and now, grim prospects for airasia flight 8501 could put malaysian based airlines at the center of the world's three deadliest aviation tragedies this year. >> it's really impossible to draw any connection between these events. given the malaysian airlines shot down over the ukraine, it just as easily could have been an airplane from singapore that was five miles flying in front of it. these were just terrible coincidences. >> reporter: disappearance of the airasia flight comes as southeast asia is dealing with terrible monsoon rains. malaysia has been hit with epic flooding and landslides. at least ten people killed more than 160,000 people forced from
their homes. so malaysians are just having a bad year not only in aviation but also have just been tested in 2014. >> elise, thank you so much. be sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 "vanished, the mystery of flight 370" only here on cnn. let's bring in now pilot miles o'brien and on the phone, we have former pilot alistair rosenshine. miles, you just heard it there, 2014 has been the deadliest year in aviation in almost a decade. but it's also seen the fewest number of passenger flights in history. explain how that can be. >> well aviation is pretty safe. over the years, the planes have gotten better the training has gotten better. the system is better overall. this really horrible coincidence
that the incidents with the most fatalities somehow linked back to malaysia is extraordinary. you certainly would never want to try to figure out the 0ds of this happening. but here we are and there's nothing to say except it's just horrible. >> you can't draw causation, but i wonder where this appears to have been related to weather, you've flown this exact route. what are some of the challenges of flying this route? >> well i just want to make clear this route is not enormously different from other routes where flight paths through the intertropical convergence zone. indeed my own experience is there is usually quite easy to get around the thunderstorms by routine left or right, east or west around the storms.
indeed i believe this is what the flight was attempting to do. you know the -- one of the problems that there is at this time of the year these storms can be quite numerous and often packed tightly together. the other issue is that these storms can occasionally get a very, very large and powerful cell. it's possible we don't know yet if this is the case but it is possible that this aircraft managed to fly through one of these cells. you know we have to wait to see what develops. perhaps we'll get the black boxes and find out. but it isn't particularly you know different from other intertropical convergence zones. >> tell us when you're flying through a storm, especially at night, obviously you can't see
anything it's cloudy. it's dark so there aren't visual references for that. you're over the ocean. so there aren't lights. can you trust what you're seeing and feeling as a pilot? >> well, yes. that's a very good question actually. you do actually look out of the windows of the aircraft. unless you're embedded in cloud, you should be able to see the thunderstorms from a distance because of the lightning flashes. and then you back this up with what you can see on your radar. you also listen to aircraft that are ahead of you on the same airway because they're ahead, getting closer to the weather and they may choose to fly left or right to go around that weather. so you listen out on the radio, if they've requested a flight to say the east then you may well figure out a way to go. so that will start your planning process.
and you diverge as early as you can to minimize the angle that you have to turn to get around the weather. but sometimes you end up zigzagging for hours on end. the monsoon over india is typical of that. you may have three or four hours of zigzagging around thunderstorms. it's not pleasant but it's what we're paid to do and generally speaking, there are no incidents as a result. >> miles, take us through, if i guess some scenarios here if this was indeed a stall, as that screen grab indicates, which would put the nose of the plane up and the plane essentially falling out of the sky, if you allow that we saw with air france flight 447, the plane was in a stall, instrument readings were wrong, it took a long time for the pilots collectively to realize they were falling, that
they were in a stall. and then you also have the issue if it's difficult in an airliner like this to recover from a stall, right? >> well the problem is when you're flying at those altitudes, the difference between too slow and too fast is perilously close. it's a very narrow margin of safe flight. the term is coffin corner. i think that's an obvious term and you can understand what that is about. it's a very narrow envelope of flight as it were. so when you're in a thunderstorm at altitude and you are buffeted by wind and turbulence and you might be struck by hail and deluged by so much rainfall that it could cause an engine to fail any of that can occur. you could be struck by lightning, momentarilyblinded by that.
another thing to consider these planes are extremely automated. that's great during routine operations. but when things go south, you want the human being in the loop. the robot is not good at flying under these factors. the problem is pilots are used to flying in automated fashion, and the computers kind of give up and hand control over to the human beings at the worst possible moment. there's a lot of concern that pilots are not well trained for this. >> certainly there is a concern there, and there definitely will be take away from this. miles, alistair thank you to both of you. just ahead, what should the ceo of airasia do next? and north korea in a war of words with president obama, hurling a racist insult his way. tensions are escalating after the release of the film "the interview." ♪ ah, push it. ♪ ♪ ♪
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nightmare as we track the search that's getting underway. what do we know about tony fernandez? >> he is going through an absolute disaster. this is as you said every airline executive's worst nightmare. this is the man who has been at the helm of this company since 2001. he is incredibly outspoken. he is charismatic. interestingly, he bought airasia completely failing airline from the malaysian airline government years ago for less than $1. he staged a complete turn-around. a dramatic turn-around. and he is a form he music executive, he worked with richard branson, the airline founder for years and years. he has succeed in the bringing the first budget carrier ever low cost carrier to malaysia so he has really turned around the industry. you have a lot of crisis management experts.
he has been so in touch. he has tweeted more than a dozen times since the plane disappeared. he wrote i as your groom ceo will be there through these hard times. we will go through this terrible ordeal together and i will try to see as many of you. earlier today he held another press conference. he said look we have carried 220 million people on this airline. obviously this is a very difficult time but we are going to continue to carry people all across this region. however, a jurnist asked him, what are your plan for compensating the families, and then also said are you going to implement any changes at the airline? i want to you listen to that. >> we haven't started talking about compensation. our focus now is to take care of them and provide them what they require over the next few days. obviously, we have prepared something in relation to the indonesian dgca ruling. regarding changes in the company, until we have a full investigation, we know what went
wrong, that we really can't speculate. we don't want to speculate until we find the aircraft. we know what went wrong. we'll look into it and see what we need to improve. if we need to improve. but it is speculation at the moment. >> bottom line the amount that he's been communicating on social media with the families stands in stark contrast to the ceo of malaysian airlines after mh 370 disappeared. that got a lot of negative headlines, misinformation text messages sent to the families saying their loved ones were gone. not the way it should have been. what we need to see, continued communication going forward in this as we have they search for the plane. >> so crucial. thanks for your report. stay right here for more on the search on the airasia jet. we have a new response from a top house republican about a report that he gave a speech to a white supremacist group in 2002. cnn's athena jones the details.
>> this is not the kind of headline any politician wants to see. especially if you are the number three house republican in leadership. we're talking about a speex in 2002 that represents him. he was then a state senator to a group called euro. that's short for european american unit and rights organization. a group that was founded by david duke who of course is the former leader of the ku klux klan. a former grand wizard and an avowed long time neo-nazi. he was running around the state traveling all over louisiana talking to everyone who would listen to him about his opposition to a tax increase that he said would hurt middle class families and also his desire to eliminate a slush fund that he believed was helping state politicians. so they don't have an agenda but they say it is very, very likely that he appeared before this group. and his communications director told me he has never been affiliated with the group in
question. it is in stark contradiction on what he believes and practices as a father and husband and a devoted catholic. he said he did not know the group was affiliated with white supremacists and if he had known, he wouldn't have spoken before them. >> thank you so much. turning to north korea, the rhetoric is heating up as the world awaits the controversy. north korea and kim jong-un are lashing out at president obama while experts are warning revenge is almost certain. pamela brown working this story for us. >> reporter: sony's unprecedented move to release "the interview" online and in theaters simultaneously is paying off. many moviegoers saying it was their patriotic duty to see the film. ♪ i'm proud to be an american where at least i know i'm free ♪
>> so far the controversial comedy has raked in about $18 million. >> peanut butter and jealous. >> reporter: most of it online with more than 2 million downloads. >> i wanted to see it as quickly as i could. >> reporter: now apple itunes is jumping on board. >> i've never heard this before. >> reporter: as sony cashes in -- the question looms. will the hackers who the u.s. says were working for the north korean government strike back. >> i think they'll continue to go after sony as punishment and retribution for putting this film out. i think we'll see a lot more sony e-mails. >> reporter: law enforcement says even though sony believes its systems are now secure, the concern is that the hack letters release more confidential information they've already stolen. >> running the sources is
virtually impossible. >> reporter: over the weekend the blame game between the u.s. and north korea escalated. north korea claiming tuesday cut off its internet last week and calling president obama a monkey. >> at the end of the derrek have we deterred north korea? >> reporter: senator lindsay graham on north korea suggested china's possible involvement and pushed for aggressive measures against north korea. >> put them on the state spogsored terrorism list and attack their infrastructure. i can't imagine anything this massive happening in north korea without china being involved. >> reporter: and an fbi official i spoke with reiterated today, absent any additional information, the government doesn't believe any other countries are involved in the hack. >> thanks so much. we really appreciate it. thank you for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac --
www.vitac.com outfront the hunt for airasia flight 8501 floux the united states maybe joins the desperate search across the java sea. where is that plane? plus the final minutes inside the cockpit. what went wrong as the pilot asked permission to climb above a massive thunderstorm. and a deadly ferry fire. passengers freezing on the deck while the fire below melted their shoes. why did their rescue take so long? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm jim sciutto in for